[Avodah] Molad

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Wed Jul 29 08:33:13 PDT 2015

On Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 02:45:03AM -0400, Zev Sero via Avodah wrote:
:> But I am not sure the molad is announced for Y-m time, despite what we
:> call it.

: http://mechon-mamre.org/i/3811.htm#17

The Rambam there (Qiddush haChodesh 11:17) discusses the calculation of
the calendar. The rules are set up based on RC in Y-m.

Announcing the molad doesn't reflect the calculated calendar, but the
whole Qiddush haChodesh is set up to invoke Sanhedrin being meqadesh
al pi re'iyah. So perhaps they chose a clock for announcing the molad
that wasn't the one they used to translate to the meridian used for
translating mollad into rosh chodesh.

Why would we do so? Isn't the meridian of Y-m the obvious time to use
even if it weren't the one used to compute the calendar?

As I quickly mentioned (I gave more details more than once in the past),
I am suggesting a different meridian because if Hillel Nesi'ah ubeis dino
had assumed a molad that was 23 min earlier than the one we announce,
the molad would be more accurate.

23 min later than Yerushalayim does correspond to a meaningful place
at the time, a point exactly midway between the Jews of EY and those
of Bavel. Aside from including Ur Kasdim. Not the most obvious choice
(Yerushalayim) but still not a random meridian either. So why not assume
they picked the meridian for announcing the molad on that basis, and
credit the Sanhedrin with knowing the molad to greater accuracy?

The question is what that does to molad zaqein, and how we would explain
the clean result of before noon vs posponing RH if the molad is after

The idea behind molad zaqein is that the furthest east Jewish community
would still be able to see (weather permitting) the new moon before the
end of RC. This is obviously only a loose idea, since we're talking about
timing based on the molad, an approximate average. (So that on average
Jews in the east would see the new moon...?)

RYGB and/or RAZZ theorize
that the Calendar Controversy was over the issue of how far east do we
worry about.

R' Aharon ben Meir wanted to move the cutoff for molad zaqein by 64
chalaqim. (More than 23 min, ie 414 chalaqim.) He doesn't say why.
Their article suggests that RABM was setting the rule for molad zaqein
based on the furthest known Jewish settlement at that time. Which would
be Kaifun, and the numbers work. Whereas RSG objected saying that the
location is theoretical, not experimental.

The Kuzari (following RSG -- since it's his version of the calendar
that we all use) uses this to argue that the international date line
is 90 deg east of Y-m ih"q. And thus any Jewish settlement that would
be further east would be on the other side of the date line WRT Rosh
Chodesh, and there is no problem of the molad being on their day 2.

If so, changing the molad by 23 min would change the calendar, halakhah
would prove my claim wrong.

But few if any of us hold that the date line is 90 deg east of Y-m,
east down 125.2 deg E, down Dongeng St in Changchun, China. To quote
R Dovid Heber at <http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-trav-dateline.htm>:
    Families on the eastern strip of Dongfeng Street would recite
    kiddush while families a block to the west would recite havdala.
    It may be possible for those who want two days of Shabbos to walk
    one block eastbound, down Dongfeng Street, after Seuda Shlishis and
    start Shabbos again. Those who want to skip almost all of Shabbos
    could take a short stroll westbound, and go from sunset Friday to
    sunset Saturday.
(This post needed something light to leaven it.)

>From where I sit, between those who say 180deg and the CI's adjudgment
of including the entire land mass if part of it is west of 90deg,
the dominant shitah is inconsistent with the Kuzari's explanation.

If the date line is not involved, it would mean the machloqes would be
about what we mean by the far enough end of Jewish settlement who would
still experience the molad before the end of RC. RSG is saying that 90
deg is the Sanhderin mandated estimate, and RABM holds it's the actual
furthest settlement.

And that stands whether or not RYGB and RAZZ are correct about RAML's
sevara, as we're only looking at RSG lehalakhah. I just took the Kuzari's
lomdus and asked what it would mean to those who don't agree with his
date line.

If that line of reasoning is correct, then saying the approximate
eastmost community is to be measured from the center of the core
Jewish settlement -- between Bavel and EY -- ends up more intuitive
than saying it's measured from Y-m.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             If you're going through hell
micha at aishdas.org        keep going.
http://www.aishdas.org                   - Winston Churchill
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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